BEST BETS: Best Kept Secret at Fire & Ice Saturday night

Best Kept Secret will play Dover Downs’ Fire & Ice lounge Saturday. From left, members are Phil Lester, Glenn Walker, Dan Long, Michelle Hover and Chris Miller. (Submitted photo)

The band’s name is Best Kept Secret but they are a secret no longer.

The five-piece group which performs an eclectic mix of genres has been a steady favorite throughout the area for the last few years.

Saturday, they play Dover Downs’ Fire & Ice starting at 8:30 p.m., a new time for the start of the nightclub’s weekend shows.

“I think we’ve reached the point after quite a few years of paying our dues in different venues and building our audience that we have a reputation that has to come to fruition,” said lead singer Michelle Hover.

“We get people coming up to us saying ‘Aren’t you the band that plays that song?’ It’s definitely a nice feeling.”

The band’s song choices go a long way toward its popularity, playing tunes that most cover bands don’t.

“We started out doing a lot of R&B and funk,” said Ms. Hover, who joined Best Kept Secret in October 2007, about a year into the group’s run.

“We got advice from someone who said ‘You need to be all things to all people. They aren’t going to like everything but if you mix it up, there’s bound to be something for someone on the set list.’”

That has led to a band that has a repertoire ranging from classic funk and soul, Motown, disco, pop and country music.

“We play the B sides that nobody else is playing but everyone knows,” Ms. Hover said.

“I think it’s nice to hear something different. We get bored playing the same songs over and over again. That’s one way we’ve managed to stick around so long.”

She points to songs such as The Alan Parsons Project’s “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” and the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes” as unconventional songs that may pop up during one of their shows.

“We play Maroon 5 and everybody might do ‘Sunday Morning’ but they tend not to do the second or third hits on the list,” Ms. Hover said.

A singer all of her life, she answered an ad on Craigslist back in 2007 for a lead singer posted by the band’s keyboardist Dan Long and drummer Glenn Walker.

“And I’ve stuck with them ever since,” she said.

She started out singing in church at the age of 3 and kept on through college. As a college student, she led a group called the Amani Gospel Singers, and was a founding member of the a cappella R&B group, Essence.

After college, she fronted several short-lived cover bands in the Baltimore area — Big Mama Jama, a ska/funk cover band; Loose Change, a rock cover band; and several others.

“I’m a picky person about the music but not picky about the type of music. I learn from everything and I listen to everything,” she said.

“I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different things and some have been more successful than others.”

She is backed by a cadre of veteran musicians.

Mr. Long has been playing locally for over 25 years. He is a longtime member of Delaware favorite Montana Wildaxe, plays with the Pink Floyd tribute band Echoes and performs regularly with Blues Hall of Fame member Wayne Dean and the Bailouts.

Mr. Walker has shared the stage with Mr. Long for over 10 years in Montana Wildaxe and was a member of Shakey Ground for many years.

They are joined by newer members bassist Chris Miller and guitarist Phil Lester.

“They have all honed their craft as great concert musicians so whenever I slack, they are able to pick up the pieces,” she said.

Ms. Hover thinks the fact that her bandmates are all veterans of the music scene has gone a long way to their longevity.

“They’ve all done the serious musician thing. This is just fun. I’ve done the cover band dynamic and experienced the early pitfalls. But with this band, we just want to have fun and not make it a second job,” she said.

“If we don’t have fun, nobody else will either.”

Along with Dover, Best Kept Secret plays all over the area from Rock Hall, Maryland to northern Delaware.

“We play a lot of Catholic church carnivals in the summer. We call it our carnival tour,” Ms. Hover said.

Blood Sweat and Tears

As we told you last week, Blood Sweat and Tears, featuring Bo Bice, will perform at Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall on Saturday as part of the Live On Stage series line-up.

Drummer/producer Bobby Colomby and friends formed Blood, Sweat and Tears in 1967, bursting on to the music scene blending rock, fusion and jazz into the unique style the group has been known for throughout the years.

The jazz-rock group Blood Sweat & Tears, led by Bo Bice, second from left, brings its classic sound to Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall Saturday at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo)

With their trademark sound featuring a horn section, multiple Billboard top 40 hits would follow including such hits as “When I Die,” “God Bless the Child,” “Hi-De-Ho,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” and the classic hit “Spinning Wheel,” which helped give B S & T their first Grammy award with “Album Of The Year”. That award would beat the Beatles album “Abbey Road” which was also nominated that year cementing B S & T onto the music scene.

Mr. Bice is known to millions for his “American Idol” showing in 2005 when he was runner-up to Carrie Underwood.

Tickets are $44 and can be purchased online at www.harringtonraceway.com, by calling 888-887-5687, Ext. 5246 or stopping by the Casino Gift Shop. All ages are welcome.

Smyrna twinbill

Two concerts will take place this weekend at the Smyrna Opera House.

University of Delaware piano students will perform an evening of classical music tonight at 7.

The concert will feature pianists Tongtong Shan and Juneessa Pressley performing pieces by Beethoven, Casins, Schumann and Debussy.

On Saturday, local contemporary blues group Judy Sings the Blues will perform Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m.

The band consists of Judy Mangini, vocals; Lin Doughten on guitar; James Sudimak on drums; and Carl Thompson on bass.

Tickets for both shows are $16 general admission, $14 members, seniors and military and $8 for children under 12.

They can be purchased at SmyrnaOperaHouse.org, by calling 653-4236 or visiting the box office at 7 W. South St.

Harvest Ridge food trucks

Harvest Ridge Winery will host its food truck competition today and Saturday.

This will be the fifth year the winery has hosted the event. This year, 25 of the region’s most popular food trucks will be participating to raise money for the Hero Hunts Foundation and the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans.

With the money raised in previous years at this event, the winery has been able to purchase two transport vans for the Disabled American Veterans.

The event is held at the winery at 447 Westville Road in Marydel today from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets for this family-friendly event are $10 and available online at www.harvestridgewinery.com.

Full information, including ticket information and the list of participating trucks, can be found on the winery’s website and on their Facebook page.

Silversmith exhibit

Today from 5 to 7 p.m., the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover will highlight its 25th silver anniversary celebration by opening an exhibition on the famed American silversmith, Michael Izrael Galmer, entitled “Monumental: Michael Izrael Galmer, Silversmith”.

Based in New York City, Mr. Galmer has succeeded in becoming one of the country’s leading craftsmen, having created silverworks for Tiffany and Co., Lenox, Gorham and Kirk Stieff. With a unique casting technique, the artist has developed a wide variety of highly decorative jewelry and vessels as well as the renowned Preakness trophy.

The artist is following an impulse to create much larger works for commemorative and contemporary sculptures. These works are now collected by such distinguished institutions as the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Museum, the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The exhibition will be open through May 20.

The Biggs Museum has a nearly encyclopedic collection of silver from Delaware silversmiths currently on view within the Col. Kenneth P. and Regina I. Brown Silver Study Gallery, as well as extensive holdings of Philadelphia Colonial silver vessels.

A catalog of Mr. Galmer’s works will be available for purchase during the exhibition. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a tour and discussion with Mr. Galmer April 25 at 6 p.m.

Born to a Jewish family in Soviet Russia, Mr. Galmer immigrated with his wife Galina to New York in 1981. He combined his background in engineering with a deep-rooted need to express himself artistically to develop a unique process of molding silver.

He came to prominence in American silver through a bold demonstration of his skill. He first impressed executives of Tiffany and Co. who supplied him with commissions increasing in size and importance.

The Biggs Museum is at 406 Federal St., Dover.

DSU Brass Day

Delaware State University’s Department of Music will hold its 10th annual Brass Day on Sunday in the second floor Parlor C of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center on campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Brass musicians are invited to bring their instruments and participate in the clinics.

The day will begin with a 1 p.m. concert by the First State Brass, which features Frank Gazda, DSU professor of low brass (trombone); Patrick Hoffman, DSU associate professor of music (piccolo trumpet), and his wife Sara Hoffman (French horn); as well as Robert Couto (trumpet).

Also performing as a guest artist with the First State Brass will be Kenneth Bean, a trumpeter who also serves as a conductor for the Young People Philharmonic of Lehigh Valley (Pa.), and the Philadelphia Youth Musicians Orchestra.

From 2 to 4 p.m. there will be brass clinics followed by a music reading session led by Mr. Bean.

The ending musical movement of Brass Day will take place at 4 p.m. with a guest recital performed by the U.S. Naval Academy Band Trombone Quartet.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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